Wild Ass Sanctuary

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Overview:

Gujarat High Court recently sought a report from the state government on the licenses and permissions it has granted for mining activities within Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch.

About Wild Ass Sanctuary:

  • Location: It is located in the Little Rann of Kutch of the Gujarat State in India.
  • It is the only place where the Indian wild ass, locally called Khacchar, is found.
  • The sanctuary is home to a sizeable population of Rabari and Bharwad tribes.
  • Topology
    • It can be considered a large ecotone, a transitional area between marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
    • It is a continuum of a dry area of dark silt with salt encrustation.
    • It is dotted with about 74 elevated plateaus or islands, locally called 'bets'
    • During the monsoon, large parts are flooded to depths of up to 2m.
  • Flora:
    • It is full of dry thorny scrub, and there are no large trees except on the fringes and bets.
    • Some of the plants and trees that are found in this sanctuary are Morad, Unt morad, Theg, Dolari, Khijdo, Kerdo, Mithi jar, Kheri pilu, Akado, etc.
  • Fauna:
    • Besides Indian Wild Ass, the other mammals found here include Blackbuck, Nilgai, Bluebull, Hare, Wolf, Foxes, Desert Cat, Indian fox, Jackal, Hyena, Wild boar, etc.
    • There is rich birdlife, including the Houbara bustard, Sandgrouse, Pale harrier, Black-shouldered kite, Pelican, etc.

Key Facts about Indian Wild Ass:

  • It is a sub-species of Asian Wild Ass, i.e., Equus hemionus.
  • Scientific name: Equus hemionus khur
  • It is characterized by distinctive white markings on the anterior part of the rump and on the posterior part of the shoulder and a stripe down the back that is bordered by white.
  • Distribution: World’s last population of Indian WildAss is restricted to Rann of Kachchh, Gujarat.
  • Habitat: Desert and grassland ecosystems.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN: Near threatened.
    • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife Protection Act (1972): Schedule-I

 


Q1) Where is Rann of Kutch located ?

The Rann of Kachchh is a salt marshy land in the Thar Desert in the Kachchh district of western Gujarat. It lies between Gujarat in India and the Sindh province in Pakistan. It comprises of around 30,000 sq. km of land which includes The Great Rann of Kachchh, The Little Rann of Kachchh and Banni grassland.

Source: HC seeks report from Gujarat govt on mining leases granted within Wild Ass Sanctuary